Friday, March 31, 2006

gifting (continued)

sexy heels (ha, ha, ha)
These beauties were a gift from my adorable and sweet landlady. I tried to refuse, but everything I said bounced right off the communication barrier and came flying back at me. Next thing I knew I was trying them on. Why did they have to fit perfectly? What am I going to do with these?! They are a great example of Korean "style". There seems to be a style going on here, just not anything close to mine.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Traditional Wedding

Ji and Phil
Ji and Phil had a beautiful wedding. The location was incredible, the weather was nice, everyone looked gorgeous, and the ceremony was lovely and meaningful (instead of rushed and cheezy like at those wedding halls). AND I wore a hanbuk. I love these people.

Check out the pics here or here.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

hey hyewha...

My new hood has a bit more character than Jamsil. It's a bit older and feels more like I originally thought Korea would. From the back exit of the univeristy Hyehwa looks a bit like San Fran.


yummy dish
little potatoes (I wish they were the red ones), boiled till almost all soft
sliced in half
olive oil in a hot pan
garlic sliced thin and tossed around
long green onion chopped
in go the potatoes
dance and flip till a bit brown
tomatoes sliced in half
hop on top of the potatoes
salt, pepper

Hyehwa, where I get off


Sunday, March 19, 2006

type O, Oh, OH!

Instead of asking what your sign is, in Korea, people ask what's your blood type. Supposedly this is linked with your personality. I had no idea until a recent medical check-up required for my job. I'm blood type O!

Type-O people are warriors. They are outgoing, expressive, and passionate. They are highly motivated and natural leaders. Blessed with a strong physical presence, they aren't afraid to gamble because they are so convinced they will win. They are natural athletes. They tend to be obsessive in their quest for success, and this can make them boring to others.

A warrior. Yeah. Kinda fun.

Also, I found, that as blood type O, I can give blood to people who are all other types, but can only receive O type blood. We're the "universal givers." Unfortunately, I can't donate blood for two reasons.

First, I don't weigh enough. Second, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Variant (vCJD); "Mad Cow Disease." You are restricted from donating blood (as determined by the American Red Cross) if from January 1, 1980, through December 31, 1996, you spent (visited or lived) a cumulative time of 3 months or more, in the United Kingdom. I lived in a podunk little place called Crewe in Cheshire (just below Manchester) for a year, from 1985-1986. Then I spent a summer in Cardiff, Wales in 1989. The thought that I may have been tainted by mad cow disease is a serious thing, but I can't help but giggle about it. Maybe I'm crazy.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

i rock the socks that make you hot

Things I can never seem to get enough of: funny socks and journals.

Hello, my name is Miss Koco and beyond being a nonstop vaginaholic, I'm a MUJI addict. I'm at the MUJI store in the LotteMart at Jamsil more than any person should be. It's like the Japanese version of IKEA. It's the only place I've seen in Korea that has products that actually look like they were designed. They have a simple aesthetic. MOREOVER, they had these socks.

muji socks**NOTE: Stripped leggings and wild ass socks together--not for outdoor use.**

They have the thong toe action (like mittens for your feet), they reach mid-calf, AND they are from recycled yarn. What more could you ask for? Nothing could make me happier than a store with socks like this AND stationary. Oh, yes they have journals and pens and little stickies and whatnot, TOO.

Obviously, I don't need any more journals (this is the select few I needed to have with me in Korea). However, sometimes you see something you simply can't be without. MUJI is a place that has many things like this.

shelf of journals

I couldn't help but relate to the character Karen Finley describes in her piece titled CHANDLER'S:

There was no place as romantic for her as a stationery store. She would go through the endless aisles of pastel Post-Its, lined notecards, and patterned notebooks, poetic greeting cards, foiled giftwraps. The smells of the papers intoxicated her into a levitated state of absolute bliss.

Once, as she was looking at a display of bookmarks, she felt her skin shiver. It was just too exciting, feeling the leather between her fingers--she climaxed right there on the spot. And with every bookmark she touched she climaxed again and again. She came in daily now.

Okay, so it's not like I get all heated like that by paper... but, well... some people like food, I dig paper and art supplies (and socks).

yellow dust

I stayed in all day. ALL DAY. My nose is running non-stop, my head is all congested, my eyes are itchy, my throat is sore. It's that time of the year when the yellow dust from China comes over to Korea. I thought this was some kind of joke when I first heard about it, but it's real and it's not cute.

Laying in bed, trying to breathe, I float in and out of consciousness. I dream a bit, wake up and write it down, read my book a bit, fall asleep again, wake up, mark a few papers, fall asleep.

Lately my dreams have been vivid and bizarre. I woke up frantically looking for a pen and paper to write down the name Rucker Ruenberger before I forgot. I told myself to google him later. I have no idea what I was dreaming about, just that this was extremely important.

In another dream I was in grad school, again, getting another design related degree that I'd never use. I was being a lazy student and I hadn't completed my homework. I was turning red, overheating, and sweating. I didn't know how this could have happened. I got the sense that was such a huge fuck up and I couldn't stop failing. The strangest part was the collection of students in my class. Notables included: Merlin, Greg (a new co-worker who's been there for 12 years now), and some woman, who I actually went to grad school with, whose name I can never remember. All I know is that she was a hardcore lady who used to do tv production, I liked her winter boots, and she was from New Jersey.

The homework assignment was to come up with a product, interactive tool, or event that combined two seemingly unrelated user groups. For example, Merlin had designed some kind of fragrance line that had to do with the alphabet. That made no sense, but in my dream world he had done a very good job with his homework. I was impressed by his rendering skills and his whole presentation. But, I heard next to nothing he said. I was too busy being completely embarrassed and trying to come up with something, quick.

In the back of my mind I kept recreating a Simpson's episode where Homer had said "ahhh... what if we got people who like beer and people who like music together?" Then they pan out to a Duff sponsored music festival that looked like Woodstock 2. If that's an actual episode or not, I have no idea. I kept racking my brain trying to come up with something interesting, but everything was too general. I kept going back to the Simpson's episode hoping I'd haphazardly stumble upon something genius. "Food and music," I kept saying to myself, trying to brainstorm. I came up with two lame ideas that didn't completely make sense--a recipe book that was on a cd with songs that go together with the dishes and an online-based travel game where you went on a food/restaurant/eating scavenger hunt from China, through Russia, to Europe. Somehow it was loosely related to geocaching. No one was impressed. Merlin looked at me blankly and I heard his thoughts that sounded something like, "Stupid bitch. What are doing you doing in grad school?" Of course, these weren't his thoughts, but my own. I woke up still trying to think of something innovative.

Oh, Murakami... you're doing funny things to my head. I kinda like it though.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

been a while

Yeah... I've been busy. Work, life, and my new pet.

I've never really been a pet person. I have never really liked dogs, I grew allergic to cats in my adult years, I find birds silly, hamsters disgusting, and I just don't feel like a fish or a plant really are interactive enough to really qualify.

I've been really busy with my new gig, then filling my nights with reading, socializing, and making art. It's always nice to have someone to come home to. I guess I'm looking to share my domestic space. A boyfriend would be too much trouble and make a mess, so I considered getting a puppy, just to give it a go.

You know how they say, be careful what you wish for... without even trying, Harold came into my world. He just showed up a couple days ago and won't leave. At first, I wanted to just get rid of him. I just finished The Secret Life of Bees and I guess I got soft on the caring for all living creatures no matter how small or annoying, so I gave up. I guess he likes me. I'm pretty sure he's a sarcophaga carnaria. I named him Harold after the dick in Judy Blume's (pre)teen classic Forever (The main character's boyfriend's penis was named Harold). I've spent hours trying to shoo him out the door. No matter what I have done to try to get Harold to just leave, he has refused.

So, here we are together, with him driving me bonkers, buzzing about the apartment, while I try to get some work done. It's like we've always been this way. I'm not attached though. If Harold were to up an die like right this second, I really doubt I'd be too upset. No tears even. I mean I never asked for him in the first place and I'll know it was probably just his time to go.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

best teacher awards

I want to be good at what I do, really good. I want to inspire and inform. I want to be compassionate and understanding. I want to be a fantastic teacher. So what does it take to be that person who leaves an impression? Who really taught you something and made you understand?

The Responses

My favorite teacher ever was Chris Wiggins, not only because he was young and cute I could flirt with him in class, but because he was super smart and challenging as an educator. He gave the hardest exams I've ever taken (he could write those damn actuarial exams!) and he gave me bad grades despite the fact that he knew I was smarter than that. Thing is, I didn't study for his class and my grades reflected it. I guess I'm a masochist...

The best teacher I ever had was Bruce Reich who still teaches me music theory and composition (I'm taking an advanced harmony class with him starting in April). He is, among all my past teachers, the most passionate about the material, and the most thoroughly knowledgeable. He owns all the information he dispenses with complete, yet humble, authority. He is a master of harmony and counterpoint but has no ego about it. He truly just wants to pass along the information, and the passion, to as many students as possible to help them become better composers.

excerpted from Rose's response:

Prof. Jose Munoz, Prof. Barbara Browning, Prof. Bob Vorlicky, Mr. Piccioni, Mr. LoCicero, and Mrs. DeLuca.
In my experience good teachers foster a sense of community in the classroom and yet do encourage intellectual competition. They are encouraging but they do not hestitate to give constructive criticsm, and are available to discuss ways to improve your performance in the class. They tie things happening in the class to things you can use anywhere - in another class or in life. They are engaging people in addition to being experts in their subject, or at least extremely well prepared for what you're going to talk about that day. And any teacher gets tons of extra points for being extremely sexy.

My grandmother:

My memory is poor but I do remember my high school English teacher. She was very pleasant to us, always with a smile. She complimented us whenever it was due and showed us how to read and get the most out of any poem. Her enthusiasm would radiate and inspire all to read with renewed feelings and expression.

For me, from 1st to 8th grade the arts team at Meredith were my world. Ms. Linda Hayes, my drama teacher, Ms. Wolf (who was just pure love, joy, and creativity), the art teacher, Mr. Goldberg (who taught me to breathe enough to try to sing), Ms. Shepard and later Ms. Hall the dance teachers who taught me about being a DIVA.

Clyde Michael Hayes, my ballet and Horton technique teacher was fantastic because he taught me dance through anatomy. He put a science to this art form and made me want to push myself. Then he could pluck your eyebrows like a pro and tape your boobs so they didn't pop out of your costume. He also showed me a thing or two about being fierce.

High School was pretty uninspiring, with the exception of Mr. McMillian. Because of him I took two extra years of science classes in high school (Bioinstrumentation and Genetics). I loved biology. I still believe that Mr. McMillian's recommendation was the thing that got me into NYU. He was an amazing teacher because he knew what he was teaching, he didn't stand for any nonsense, and he always had well prepared labs for us. We applied everything we learned.

In college, Pepe Karmel was the man. He showed me all the art that would be the inspiration for my own work. Contemporary Art was one of the best classes I took in my major, other than my thesis class Art and/as Documentation, also with Karmel. He knew his stuff too. He was funny, quirky, and picked work to discuss that really fascinated me. I hadn't studied one female artist until my last semester as a Art History major. When I asked my Modern Art professor, a woman, why we hadn't studied even one female artist all semester, she told me that unfortunately none were notable. How could that be possible? AND, lastly, Pepe introduced me to Karen Finley.

KAREN, KAREN, KAREN. Possibly the most influential professor and the most fantastic mentor ever. I'm almost finished reading her book, A Different Kind of Intimacy (with an Annie Libovitz photo on the cover), and I continue to learn from her. What an amazing human being and a truly inspiring artist. She created an environment in her class where we could be comfortable to share our art and ourselves. I became the artistic and creative self I had never imagined I could be. I made work that was unexpected but important to me. I grew. I watched my views change and allowed myself to be bolder than I had ever been before. I gave myself permission to explore things I had previously been too fearful or disgusted by to tread upon. I played with vulgarity, and made it cute and clever. I want to get back to that. Karen... how did you do that?

Friday, March 03, 2006

sweet dreams - part 2 (I dream in color)

I found myself at Chocolate Man's house, again. I've been there before. He offered me a bar of chocolate that time, but he's since forgotten that incident in the store. I'm sitting on the bed with him and his wife. The bed seemed to be in the store, but then turned into their master bedroom. It felt a little funny, like it was going to get kinky, so I laid it on thick when I mentioned that I was gonna get outta there soon. My mother was going to call me any second anyway.

The bedspread had a silky lush sheen to it. The room was dim and everything had a burgundy or a deep reddish wine tone to it. It was like some kind of lair of pleasure, a den of sorts. Chocolate Man offered me a scrumdiddlyumptious (like in Willy Wonka). I was making a mess eating it. It wasn't at all like I imagined a scrumdiddlyumptious. I thought it would be a bit more gooey, possibly with some nuts on the inside. Instead it was like a dried up Coffeecrisp, which I've only found in Canada (they are what a Kit-Kat wished it could be).

The pieces were crumbling all over the place. All over the bed. I felt bad about this, but I couldn't help it. Chocolate Man got a bit pissed, but the bed had already been soiled with the delicate cocoa powder from the truffles he had been devouring earlier. He swept them off the bed and onto the floor.

We continued to eat luscious treats when suddenly some geometric grey, white, and black, 1/2 hamster, 1/2 rat pet of his emerged with a happy dilophosaur-like caw (you remember that crazy dinosaur in Jurassic Park that killed Denis, the fat programmer dude) from a little green triangular bag on the bed. It looked nothing like a hamster or a rat though. It looked a lot more like a Picasso influenced lemur and flying squirrel hybrid.

I wasn't afraid, but like disgusted by it. He had two toys, little balls that looked like Chinese health balls, but lighter. One was matte grey and the other was a metallic black. The creature carried one over to me and handed it to me. Then it started speaking Japanese. Not that I understood the Japanese, but I could identify that it was Japanese. Apparently, Chocolate Man had picked him up on his travels--sorta like Gizmo from Gremlins. The little "rathamster" pet was very affectionate and funny. I was grossed out and fascinated.

He had a puzzle box it fit into that you cranked a wheel to scramble the triangular pieces. Then the "rathamster" would have to shuffle and squirm through them to get out.

Meanwhile, Chocolate Man was getting ready to watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the new one. He said everyone always thought that he watched it all the time, but he said that it wasn't true and that he needed a batch of pot brownies to truly enjoy it.

Instead of Willy Wonka some really twisted sex tapes of Chocolate Man and his wife came on. They were all Nam June Paik (Global Groove) style. There were flashy disco colors and the face of the wife would morph into the face of Chocolate Man so he was fucking himself while the outline of their bodies turned fuchsia and became them in another position.

I wasn't really trying to watch. I mean besides having to keep a sharp eye on the questionable mutant pet, it seemed inappropriate, I didn't know Chocolate Man like that, and I wasn't interested in getting freak nasty with him and his wife. I mean she was hot, but I wasn't into him.

Then the weird pet came and sprawled out behind me, extending it's paws towards my limbs. The home video was starting to get racey and the "rathamster" suddenly started pricking me with its teeny tiny nails. They felt like little electric shocks on the end of an exacto knife. I screamed out, "OW! HIS NAILS!" Then the thing asked me in Korean, "His nails? What are nails?" It was English, but I understood it as Korean. As I tried to think of how I would explain and show the creature what nails are I drifted...

sweet dreams - part 1

tuk tuk
I was driving around somewhere in the mid-west on a blue mini-tuk-tuk. I picked it up at a convienince store and was driving it around for some time looking for my parents and "town." I followed signs that looked like the ones all over Seoul pointing to different subway stations. It's late, sometime in the early morning hours of a new day. I kept zoning out and dozing off while driving, like the way I do sometimes in the back of a cab coming home after a couple drinks.

Finally, I was almost there and then I ran out of gas. At the front of the tuk tuk--that now suddenly resembled a cheap plastic machine half way between a vacuum cleaner and a swiffer--there was a compartment that held an aerosol can filled with fuel, like those single gas burners they have in Korean restaurants. It was empty so I went into a store to see if they had another. They informed me that they didn't have any and that I had somehow gotten away with not paying the equivalent of $5 as a deposit at the pick up spot. No one had mentioned anything to me when I took the tuk-tuk, they just seemed to be there. I figured it didn't matter, I'm a foreigner and I honestly didn't know.

A couple at the store/gas station gave me a ride to "town." Their car became van-like. Then I'm in my parent's mini-van and I'm with my parents. A short time passes but it feels like we have been riding together for a while having many discussions about many things. They park and get out, but I'm staying inside to take a nap. My mother rolls down the front window on the passenger side so I won't die of carbon monoxide. I find it strange that she would even allow me to stay and sleep in the car. I'm not even tired, but I stay.

It's night. Looking at the open window I'm nervous that it's open too much. I imagine that someone could reach in and open the door. I worry that someone is going to steal the car, or me. The van becomes a Winnebago/tour bus. My parents walk away a bit and a tall white dude starts reaching into the car. I tell White Dude that if he reaches anymore that I'm going to cut off his arm. White Dude's friend, another tall white guy is suddenly inside the van. The van is open now like the bus has an open atrium. He's asking me, "With what? A serrated knife?"

At this point I don't feel safe. I go to nod my head, knowing that I can't deceive him. I'm defenseless. I have no weapon at all. I see my father out of the corner of my eye, but I'm locked inside of the car. The window is still open so I calmly say out loud, "Dad, there are three very tall white men inside the van." this is when I realize that there are three big white dudes in the van and that there isn't much my father could do to protect me outside. I start to panic.

There is some kind of anxiety rushing over me and then suddenly something happens. The next thing I know I'm a policewoman outside the van, which is parked at a gas station. The wheels are turning inside my head. I felt the same rush of anxiety as when I was myself, but now I'm trying to figure out what to do to save the young woman (myself) inside. I'm standing next to a couple (my parents) who are standing there petrified. Suddenly I charge through the glass window with the plan to reach in and grab the woman. The glass breaks into shards that soar behind me in slow motion. I have a momentary thought, that I've seen too much anime... and everything fades.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

tea time

I'm a tea addict. I spend a lot of time in cafes. I buy tea like it's my job. I try to convert people into tea freaks. In Korea I discovered Green Tea Lattes. When made well they are yummy treats. When made from crappy mix they taste like warm armpit. I've recently noticed some cafes advertising their sweet potato lattes. I'm not so sure I can get down with that. My new hood has a bunch of cafes, all within three seconds of each other. I like variety and just in case I need another warm beverage once I get to the corner, I have the option to just scoot into the next spot. Fabulous.